One of the first people I ever did D/s with as a Dominant was j., a sweet and earnest boi who thought of hymself as a knight. Hys submission was based on hys conception of chivalry. That particular masculine archetype was where hy found honor, pride and strength in service to a Dominant. Hy was the first of quite a few submissives that I’ve known who found the knight/chevalier archetype a way to access their submissive masculinity.
There is a huge fantasy of feudalism that many find deeply compelling: the rigidity of hierarchy, a time when masculinity was honorable, pride in service to a monarch, the romance of a knight carrying a lady’s favor, trial by combat, the ordeal of knighthood. So many stories have been written about this, a horde of fantasy, romance and legend that feeds this archetype of submission. I’ve read (and loved) a bunch of them myself.
These stories and this archetype obfuscate the realities of medieval feudalism, and ignore the complexities of the ways power was working at the time. For example, the concept of honorable knighthood ignores the historical role of knights in colonialism. And, I was recently informed by a medieval historian that current historical scholarship shows that relationships among folks of the same class were so much more important in people’s lives than the class hierarchy that is often romanticized.
Fantasies of knighthood are refracted through desire and wishes for a redemptive masculinity, a way of being powerful in submission, a way of enacting kink with honor. Many of the folks I know who evoke knighthood or chivalry in their kink (and there are a whole host of Dominants who do this as well), do so out of a desire for an ethical framework, a way to enact power that feels honorable and consensual and romantic. These are often folks who know what abusive and oppressive power and masculinity are like, and are attempting to craft a way to play with power and gender that does not reproduce abuse.
So when I was imagining a time travel story about a Dominant finding his way back to submission again after giving it up for many years in the aftermath of an abusive D/s relationship, it made sense to take him back in time to a fantasy of medieval feudalism. To create an opportunity for a cathartic scene that would give him a framework for choosing service again, through an ordeal of knighthood.
“My Will” is told from the perspective of that Dominant. It begins with him meeting a man that he can’t stop thinking about kneeling for, even though he gave that up long ago. They talk kink ethics for hours, and become friends. Then Preston (and yes he is named after John Preston, in homage to the way these two characters are enamored of old school leather) offers a scene for his birthday, and he cannot resist trying submission again, rationalizing that it’s for a limited time, kind of like a vacation.
For the first half of the story, you witness this Dominant kneel for the first time in fifteen years, and fall back in love with submission, again. He reclaims his own desire, and revels in the beauty that can be D/s dynamic. You get to savor the intensity of a deep D/s dynamic, slow and languorous and drawn out in full deep strokes that reach into his heart and hold. Preston is ruthless in his expression of Dominance, and that’s exactly what he aches for, is so sublimely what he needs that he is so overwhelmed he passes out, and is transported back in time, to face a knight’s ordeal.
Just as Preston pushed him to admit his desire to be under his boot, so does the priest require him to verbalize his desire for service before entering the ordeal. That is a theme throughout Show Yourself To Me, scenes where submissives are required to own and verbalize their desire, and both of these choice points are essential in “My Will”. The title is based on that moment of choice, the question he faces: “Is it your will to pursue service?”
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Get the book:
Ebook and print copies at Go Deeper Press: http://godeeperpress.com/projects/show-yourself-to-me-by-xan-west/
Ebook on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Show-Yourself-Me-Queer-Erotica-ebook/dp/B015RVWLGM/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1443534316&sr=1-2
In Show Yourself to Me: Queer Kink Erotica, Xan West introduces us to pretty boys and nervous boys, vulnerable tops and dominant sadists, good girls and fierce girls and scared little girls, mean Daddies and loving Daddies and Daddies that are terrifying in delicious ways.
Submissive queers go to alleys to suck cock, get bent over the bathroom sink by a handsome stranger, choose to face their fears, have their Daddy orchestrate a gang bang in the park, and get their dream gender-play scene—tied to a sling in an accessible dungeon.
Dominants find hope and take risks, fall hard and push edges, get fucked and devour the fear and tears that their sadist hearts desire.
Within these 24 stories, you will meet queers who build community together, who are careful about how they play with power, who care deeply about consent. You will meet trans and genderqueer folks who are hot for each other, who mentor each other, who do the kind of gender play that is only possible with other trans and genderqueer folks.
This is Show Yourself to Me. Get ready for a very wild ride.
Join the blog tour — see schedule below, or go here for a list that will have updates.
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Xan West is the nom de plume of Corey Alexander, a recent transplant to Oakland from Brooklyn, who has been doing community kink education for over ten years. Xan has been published in over 35 erotica anthologies, including the Best S/M Erotica series, the Best Gay Erotica series, and the Best Lesbian Erotica series. Xan’s story “First Time Since,” won honorable mention for the 2008 National Leather Association John Preston Short Fiction Award. Xan’s work has been described by reviewers as “offering the erotica equivalent of happy ever after” and as “some of the best transgressive erotic fiction to come along in recent years.”
Xan refuses pronouns, twists barbed wire together with yearning, and tilts pain in many directions to catch the light. Xan adores vulnerable tops; strong, supportive bottoms; red meat; long winding conversations about power, privilege, and community; showtunes; and cool, dark, quiet rooms with comfortable beds. Find Xan’s thoughts about the praxis of sex, kink, queerness, power, and writing at xanwest.wordpress.com.
Show Yourself to Me blog tour: